|HOME | NEWS | HEADLINES|
|June 20, 2000|
India's N-monitoring curbs criticized
Nitish S Rele
The Atomic Energy Commission's recent decision to stop the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India from monitoring the functioning of the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Bombay has caused consternation among scientists in India and abroad.
AEC chief R Chidambaram defended his action to stop monitoring.
"This is inevitable when you are a nuclear weapons state," he said. "We must ensure safety in all our strategic activities and have a structure to take care of this."
But the worries expressed revolve around environmental concerns and a nuclear weapons build-up in the south Asian region. It is believed that India is gearing up to produce nuclear weapons on a mass scale.
George Perkovich, author of the recently published book, India's Nuclear Bomb, was visibly upset with the decision.
"Even the AERB did not have adequate independence and powers to look after the health and environmental well-being of Indian citizens, but rather than strengthen the AERB, the AEC is kicking it out of BARC," he said.
Perkovich is director of the Secure World Program of the W Alton Jones Foundation, a $ 400 million philanthropic institution in Virginia. In addition to managing the Secure World Program, he oversees the $ 14 million Sustainable World Program. His work has appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, etc.
"Dr Chidambaram is of course correct that he is simply following a pattern set by the other nuclear weapon states," he said. "This is what is so alarming. Russia's own leaders have acknowledged that it is a nuclear wasteland thanks to the unregulated activities of the nuclear weapon complex there."
Perkovich acknowledged that the United States also allowed the nuclear establishment to regulate itself. But he pointed out: "The result was massive environmental contamination and callous disregard for the health of workers and neighbors around nuclear plants."
"The situation got so that the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided key nuclear weapon plants because they were violating many health and environmental standards.
"US NGOs eventually sued the Department of Energy and won legal judgements forcing changes in nuclear weapon establishment practices. But this was not until great damage had been done and many people had died," Perkovich said.
"So, yes, India will now leave it's nuclear weapon establishment completely free to regulate itself, and the Indian people will suffer the consequences in the years to come, just as it occurred in Russia, the US, China and elsewhere," he said.
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK